Former Trump Aide Catalina Lauf to Primary GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger

February 24, 2021 Updated: February 24, 2021

Catalina Lauf, a former top adviser to former President Donald Trump, announced she will challenge Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for his 16th Congressional District seat.

Lauf’s newly formed campaign accused Kinzinger of being an “anti-Trump RINO” who has turned his back on his constituents.

“RINO” is an acronym that stands for “Republicans in Name Only,” which is used as a pejorative by some conservatives against the Republican establishment politicians and GOP officials who fail to adopt conservatives stances. In recent years, it has been used against Republican officials who defied or criticized Trump.

“As President, Donald Trump lifted millions out of poverty, invested historically in our schools, hospitals, and communities, restored America’s status as the strongest nation on earth, and defended the right to life, our Second Amendment, our borders, and our faith,” Lauf added in a news release. “Almost 75 million Americans supported that America First Agenda—but it is clear now that Congressman Kinzinger is not one of them.”

A spokesperson for Kinzinger’s office stated that due to redistricting, it’s not clear how the race will look

“Congressman Kinzinger has a proven record of leadership and integrity, serving the interests of his constituents and his country—not the sole interests of one man,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an apparent reference to Trump.

Kinzinger was among 10 Republicans in the House to vote to impeach Trump, and in recent months, has been a frequent critic of Trump and pro-Trump Republican elected officials on social media and in press appearances.

Lauf ran for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District seat in 2020 but lost the GOP primary to Jim Oberweis, who ultimately lost to Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.).

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) speaks to the media after attending the weekly House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 29, 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“I am proud to announce my candidacy for United States Congress,” she said in the release, according to Breitbart News. “Now more than ever, America needs true conservative leaders to oppose the radical agenda of Joe Biden and continue the legacy of President Trump—and as a former advisor to his Administration, I look forward to carrying that torch.”

Lauf then stated that she wants to “end” the “reign of RINOs across this country,” suggesting that the schism between anti-Trump Republicans and the pro-Trump faction won’t be ending anytime soon. The small number of Republicans who either voted to impeach or convict Trump has faced significant backlash in their home states. Five of the seven GOP senators who voted to convict the former president have been censured since then.

Trump, in a statement last week, said he would primary certain GOP lawmakers with candidates who support his agenda.

“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership,” he said.